Van Gogh came to Belgium to preach the word of God to the miners working in one of the most impoverished and inhospitable regions of Europe: the Borinage district. Van Gogh's enthusiasm for his work and his devotion to the miners and their families didn't improve his relationship with church officials, however, and he was eventually relieved of duty. Even after his dismissal Van Gogh continued to live with the miners in the hope that he could help to ease the harshness of their lives. Eventually Van Gogh abandoned his work in the Borinage moved to Brussels to study art.
Years later Van Gogh would return to Belgium to study at the Antwerp Academy, but he soon leaves his classes to return to the Netherlands.
Borinage (Cuesmes and Wasmes)
See also:Artist Jane Tomlinson's brilliant painting that details all the locations where Van Gogh lived. Highly recommended.
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